Melbourne - Fast-rising Czech star Karolina Pliskova breezed
into the Australian Open second round on Tuesday with a straight-sets rout as she
fired a warning shot to her Grand Slam rivals.
Ranked at a career-high five in the world, the tall and
tattooed 24-year-old proved too hot to handle for Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo
in blistering heat on Rod Laver Arena.
She showed no mercy in thrashing the 106th-ranked Spaniard
6-2, 6,0 to set up a clash with either Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova or
Romanian Monica Niculescu.
"I was a little bit nervous as the first round is
always a bit tough and I'm happy to be through," she said. "I feel
good on court and excited to be back in Melbourne."
Pliskova, a US Open finalist last year, said ahead of the
opening Grand Slam of the year that the Melbourne Park surface suited her game
and it was the tournament that offered her the best chance for a maiden Grand
She came into the event as a form player with victory at the
lead-up Brisbane International, and has tasted victory in Melbourne before -
winning the girl's singles title in 2010.
She traded blows early on against Sorribes Tormo, who was
making her Australian Open debut, as she found her range before scoring the
first break in the fourth game when the Spaniard slammed a backhand into the
Pliskova didn't look back as she turned the screws, breaking
again for 5-1 before losing her focus and allowing Sorribes Tormo to stay in
touch by breaking back.
But it was only a temporary blip as she took the set on a
love service game next up.
Power-server Pliskova, last year's WTA aces leader, then
raced through the second set in just 29 minutes as her opponent wilted.